DIVISION III BOYS: Mustangs breeze past Mountain View in Southern League final

With his team already having secured a berth in next week’s Division III state tournament, The Meadows’ boys basketball coach Gary Hannig said he was looking forward to a stress-free Saturday.

He had no idea how relaxing it would be.

The Mustangs opened the game on a 14-0 run, and Mountain View never threatened as The Meadows rolled to a 60-39 win over the Saints in the Division III Southern League tournament title game at Desert Pines.

Tevin Gray, who scored 27 points for Mountain View in its 65-59 semifinal victory over Agassi Prep on Friday, was limited by an injured ankle and didn’t score.

“Unfortunately, Gray was injured for them,” Hannig said. “He rolled his ankle yesterday in the Agassi game. He gave it a go, and he played the first quarter, but really wasn’t able to go. That does change their team considerably when he wasn’t on the floor. But it doesn’t take away from our effort today. I thought we played good, played hard and played good defense.”

Mountain View (20-8) missed its first 12 shots before a basket by Micah Wheeler with 49 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The Meadows (25-3) followed that with an 11-3 run to essentially put the game out of reach.

The Saints struggled against the Mustangs’ 3-2 zone, settling time and again for 3-point shots. And Mountain View never got the outside shot going, as it was 1-for-22 from beyond the arc through three quarters and 3-for-28 for the game.

“They didn’t shoot particularly well again from the perimeter as they didn’t last weekend,” Hannig said. “They’re a team that takes a lot of 3s, and they really rely on the perimeter shot.”

The Meadows was able to go inside to 6-foot-6-inch senior center Max Hisatake early. He made the Saints pay, and finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

“I thought our half-court sets were efficient tonight,” Hannig said. “I thought our spacing was good, I thought our passing was good. I thought our execution of our half-court offense was good.”

Senior point guard Ethan Fridman had a lot to do with that efficiency, as he consistently found the open man. He finished with eight points and nine assists.

“He’s our leader,” Hannig said. “He’s the leader of our team. He’s got the ball in his hands a lot. He gets us into all of our sets, and he’s grown as a player. He played well today.”

Mountain View started the second half much as it did the first, missing all 12 of its third-quarter shots. The Saints finished 13-for-56 (23.2 percent) from the field.

Jake Epstein added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Mustangs.

Christian Bennett had 10 points for Mountain View, and teammate Bernard Williams had eight points and nine rebounds.

Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament in Reno.

“We’ve been to state four of the last five years,” Hannig said. “We weren’t looking to go to state this year. We’re looking to go up there and win state. That’s our focus. We’re going to prepare this week, go up there and hopefully take care of business.”

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